For the first time, White disclosed at least the ballpark figure that the UFC offered Emelianenko to come fight for their promotion when speaking to Dan Le Batard on his radio show in Miami.
The meeting went down after Zuffa purchased Pride, while Emelianenko was still universally ranked as the No. 1 heavyweight in the sport.
White flew out to an island to meet with the Russian and his team of representatives including M-1 Global leader Vadim Finkelstein.
“We went in there and negotiated, gave them a great offer to come in and fight in the UFC, and they turned it down. I said ‘let me tell you, you’re one punch away from being worth zero’ and I was wrong, he was one triangle choke away from being worth zero,” said White.
Following that time, Emelianenko opted to fight for Strikeforce in a series of co-promoted shows along with M-1 Global.
In Strikeforce, Emelianenko went 1-3, losing his last three fights in a row, most recently a TKO defeat to current light heavyweight champion Dan Henderson.
Following the defeat, Zuffa opted to not feature Emelianenko on any further Strikeforce cards, and White believes that revisionist history would see a much different result if they sat down in that room one more time.
“He’s lost three in a row now after the last offer we made him, and I guarantee you they lay in bed every night wishing they could go back,” White stated.
So just how much did Emelianenko leave on the table in that meeting?
Former M-1 Global employee Jerry Millen, who isn’t on the good side of his former employer or White, told MMAWeekly.com, “It was huge, huge money, and nobody is talking about how much money it was because Dana doesn’t want his guys to know what they offered Fedor to fight. You can’t say you’ve offered a figher $4 million to $5 million to fight because of his fighters found out they would would freak out.”
White didn’t get into specific numbers, and did not substantiate any claims of $4 million to $5 million dollars per fight, but did indicate the amount was substantial; probably more than any one fighter has been offered from day one to compete in the UFC.
“More than he’s ever made in his entire career, and more than he will ever see in the rest of his life. I’ll say this, and I haven’t said this anywhere else, millions and millions of dollars,” White confirmed.
Fedor’s representatives turned the offer down flat, wanting more concessions for M-1 Global on top of Fedor’s salary.
Hindsight is always 20/20, but in this particular case it appears White got his money’s worth out of Fedor Emelianenko… even though he never signed him.
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